German with Listening Subject Test

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The German with Listening Subject Test is a compelling way to demonstrate your achievement in written and spoken German, enhance your college application, and make you stand out in the admission process. Plus, some colleges may allow you to fulfill basic language competency requirements or place out of introductory German courses.

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Important Notes

  • Offered in November only
  • Complies with the German spelling reform (Rechtschreibreform) as much as possible
  • Must bring acceptable CD player with earphones

Test Basics

Scoring, Timing, Number of Questions

Points Minutes Questions
200–800 60 (20 minutes for listening questions and 40 minutes for reading questions) ~85 (Multiple Choice)

Getting Ready for the Test

Additional Things to Know

When should I take the German with Listening test?

There are a few factors to consider as you decide when to take the test. You should have at least two years of strong preparation in the language, but the more the better.

It's recommended that you take the German with Listening test as close to the end of the most advanced German class that you will take in high school, while still balancing college admissions and placement requirements. You’re likely not to do as well if you take the test after you haven’t been in a German class for several months.

  • For seniors studying German: If German is a strong subject for you, be sure it’s one of the SAT Subject Tests you take in time for your colleges to see your score. If you’re only taking it for placement purposes, and not as part of your application, wait until you’re as far along in your course as possible. If you want to take the German with Listening test, remember that it’s only given in November (and don’t forget to bring a portable CD player with earphones).

What’s the difference between the German test and the German with Listening test?

The German test includes reading only — you read in German and answer multiple-choice questions. However, besides the reading portion, the test given in November also includes a listening portion — you listen in German and answer multiple-choice questions. Although students report feeling more anxious about the listening portion, they also tend to do better on that part of the test. Colleges say the German with Listening test gives them a fuller picture of your ability and is more useful for placement purposes.

Which German is used on the German with Listening test?

The language used on the test is taken from pieces written and dialogue spoken by those who use German in their everyday lives. Words or sayings specific to certain geographic areas will not be used on the test. If you’ve had at least two years of strong preparation in the language, then you should be able to understand the German on the test.

I am familiar with German, but have not taken a class in school. Can I still take the German with Listening test?

No matter how you acquired your knowledge of German, it’s important to show colleges what you know. Your test will be scored the same way as that of someone who learned German only in the classroom. If you’ve been exposed to a lot of spoken German, then you should definitely take the German with Listening test.

If you will be using these results to fulfill a college admission requirement, you should be aware that different colleges have different policies with regards to Subject Tests in foreign languages. You should check with the colleges that you're interested in regarding their policies and seek guidance from your counselor or teacher on your specific situation.

Please note that this test reflects what is commonly taught in high school. Due to differences in high school classes, it’s likely that most students will find questions on topics they’re not familiar with. This is nothing to worry about. You do not have to get every question correct to receive the highest score (800) for the test. Many students do well despite not having studied every topic covered.